Verse 14. As the fire burneth a wood. Long years have strewn the ground with deep deposits of leaves; these being dried in the sun are very apt to take fire, and when they do so the burning in terrific. The underwood and the ferns blaze, the bushes crackle, the great trees kindle and to their very tops are wrapped in fire, while the ground is all red as a furnace. In this way, O Lord, mete out destruction to thy foes, and bring all of them to an end.
The flame setteth the mountains on fire. Up the hill sides the hanging woods glow like a great sacrifice, and the forests on the mountain's crown smoke towards heaven. Even thus, O Lord, do thou conspicuously and terribly overthrow the enemies of thine Israel.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13-14. See Psalms on "Psalms 83:13" for further information.
Verse 14. Mountains on fire. Many of the mountains in this country are covered with dense forests. The leaves which fall every autumn accumulate, sometimes for years, until we have a particularly dry summer, when, somehow or other, either by accident or design, they are always set on fire, and burn sometimes for several days. The mountains in one of the States of the neighbouring Republic are on fire at this very moment while I am now writing, and have been burning for more than a week, and we can distinctly see the red glare in the sky above them, although from their great distance, even the tops of the mountains themselves from whence the flames arise are beyond the limits of our horizon. From "Philip Musgrave: or Memoirs of a Church of England Missionary in the North American Colonies." 1846.
Verse 14. Fire has greater force on a mountain, where the wind is more powerful, than upon a wood situated in a valley. Honorius Augustodunensis.
Verse 14. Humboldt saw forests on fire in South America and thus describes them. "Several parts of the vast forests which surround the mountain, had taken fire. Reddish flames, half enveloped in clouds of smoke, presented a very grand spectacle. The inhabitants set fire to the forests, to improve the pasturage, and to destroy the shrubs that choke the grass. Enormous conflagrations, too, are often caused by the carelessness of the Indians, who neglect, when they travel, to extinguish the fires by which they have dressed their food."
Verse 14. Let us pray the divine aid to break this power and enmity of the natural man; that it may yield unto the word of grace; and let the wood, hay and stubble of all false doctrine perish before the brightness of the face of God. Edward Walter. 1854.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 13-15. The instability, restlessness and impotence of the wicked; their horror when God deals with them in justice.